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What is an employee’s regular rate of pay? Is it just what they make per hour of work?

Not exactly. An employee’s “regular rate of pay” is the amount used to calculate their overtime rate for a given time period. You might think of it as an average, of sorts. An employee’s regular rate is determined by adding up the amount paid for their work, as well as earnings from non-discretionary bonuses (such as those tied to performance or retention), then dividing that amount by the total hours worked.    For example, let’s say Anna earns $10/hour for inside sales work and $15/hour for bookkeeping work. This week, she worked 24 hours in inside sales and 20 hours as a bookkeeper. She also received $50 in commissions that are attributable to this workweek. H

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EEO-1 Reporting Requirements Finalized

The hotly contested issue of what exactly needs to be filed for EEO-1 reporting this year has been resolved—at least for now. Pay data for both 2017 and 2018 must be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. The data that has been required in years past is still due by May 31, 2019. An appeal of the latest decision has been filed, so it's possible that there could be yet another change to the requirements, but employers should plan to comply with these deadlines, as described below.  Does my business even need to file the EEO-1 report?If you have fewer than 100 employees and no federal contracts, you are not subject to EEO-1 reporting re

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Final Pay Laws By State

Did you know that each state has their own rules on when an employees final paycheck is due? Here in Wisconsin, if an employee quits, it is due to them on their next scheduled pay day. If an employee is fired, it is also the next scheduled payday, or if the termination is the result of a merger, relocation, cessation, or liquidation of the business, final pay is due within 24 hours. It is definitely not an exciting read, but here is a link to the details on the Wisconsin State Legislature website. If you have questions on other states, please don't hesitate to ask us.

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There’s a Loneliness Epidemic in the Workplace – Here’s How Employers Can Help

Right now, in workplaces across the country, people are going about their jobs, seemingly content, but deep down feeling the ache of loneliness. They aren’t necessarily working alone or all by themselves with no one to talk to. They may be chatting amicably with customers on the phone or in person. Or they may work from home, but are in frequent communication with their coworkers through digital channels. Whatever the case, these lonely workers feel isolated and unnoticed. Given all the means that people have at their disposal to connect with each other in the workplace – face-to-face meetings, email, social media, messaging apps – one might have expected loneliness in the workplac

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Risk Reduction Through Progressive Discipline

Because behavioral problems and poor performance can be detrimental to the bottom line, many employers want to be rid of problematic employees ASAP. Small businesses in particular may not feel that they have the time or money to work on correcting bad behavior or improving poor performance. Additional supervision alone can be costly and a burden on already busy managers. Immediate termination often feels like the easier path, especially in industries in which it’s relatively painless to find a replacement. But, despite the ease of immediate termination, we generally recommend that employers first use progressive discipline. Terminating employment always comes with risk, even when it’s

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Question: Can we give employees different amounts of vacation or PTO time?

Answer: If the differing amounts of vacation or PTO are based on a clearly-defined employee groupings, such as seniority, department, or exempt versus non-exempt status, then yes. It’s a common practice, for example, for employers to offer more vacation time to employees who have been with the organization for longer.  Where you can run into trouble is offering different amounts of vacation on an individual basis or without clearly-defined criteria, either of which can lead to discrimination claims. For instance, if Rafik and Anita are hired at the same time for similar jobs in the accounting department at the same rate of pay, but the organization offers Rafik more vacation, Anita

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Governor Cracks Down on Employee Misclassification

Earlier this month Governor Evers issued Executive Order 20 (EO), which will ultimately lead to a crackdown on misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The EO calls for creation of a joint task force of leaders from the state Department of Workforce Development, Attorney General’s office, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance Divisions, and several other state agencies.  The task force has been given numerous objectives, some of which are fairly administrative, but it’s clear that its primary focus is enforcement and a push for increased reporting of misclassification. The Governor cited the impact on vulnerable populations that are misclassified (

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Spring Cleaning

With year-end and first-of-the-year goals out of the way and a lull between holidays, there’s no better time to do some organizational spring cleaning. As many experts in tidying up and clearing clutter will tell you, a clean space with room for movement (both physical and psychological) will boost productivity and just make people feel better. You may be low on time, or you might feel ready to embrace some serious reorganization. Depending on the number of hours available, consider mixing and matching the following spring-cleaning options, from quickest to most comprehensive. Do a walk-through of the workplace to ensure that pathways are clear and free of tripping or falling hazar

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We’re going to close our worksite due to inclement weather. Do we have to pay employees?

Non-exempt employees need to be paid only for actual hours worked plus any reporting time pay that may be required by the state (this sometimes applies when employees show up for work but are sent home early).  Exempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid when the employer closes due to inclement weather, whether they do any work or not. You may require exempt employees to use accrued vacation or paid time off for the day if that is your regular practice when the workspace closes. However, exempt employees without enough paid time off to cover the absence must still be provided with their regular salary during the closure. Many companies have an inclement weather or emergenc

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The Employment Laws Every Growing Organization Should Know About

Periods of growth are particularly exciting for small and midsize businesses, but they also bring new HR challenges. Along with adding employees—which may change the feel of your culture as well as your floorplan—your organization may become subject to federal and state laws that take effect once you have a certain number of employees. Most employment laws apply to organizations based on the number of people they employ, so as you grow, it’s vital to keep up-to-speed on any laws that newly apply or will soon apply to your organization. Federal Laws To understand the scope of many of the federal laws discussed below, employers need to know the definition of discrimination. In the

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